I saw this HBR video from Lynda Gratton a while back, and really liked what she had to say about three networks for our digital age. She talks about "getting a posse" and I loved the analogy. There's something about a trusted cadre of colleagues with similar skills, who know how to get a job done...and I like "posse" to describe this.
In the past few weeks I've spent more time thinking about the other two networks, particularly the "regenerative community". This is the network that needs to be actively nurtured with in-person connections to bring us joy, friendship and healing. One of my closest communities like this was formed as a student at the University of Illinois. Many years later, my son is now a freshman at Illinois, and this Illini community has also formed a "posse" around him - parents and kids who share the same experiences, and are helping each other navigate university life.
It's been pretty cool. As our family has moved from location to location over the years, my Illini community has been pretty much invisible to my son. Seeing it in action - embracing our entire family - has been a huge learning experience for him. A gift to me, him, and even his dad (a Dukie...)
My heartfelt hope for him is that he builds a posse - a community - relationships - that last a lifetime. At the same time I wonder about how technology might shortchange those foundational experiences that depend on in-person conversations. Instead of staying up all night talking on the dorm floor, are they staying up all night texting in their rooms? I have to admit a nagging regret for these students.
And yet the third network - the "big idea" crowd - seems like it will be far easier to maintain. People you don't know very well, with experiences very different than your own - technology will no doubt easily facilitate and encourage these types of connections. It certainly has helped me. Their worlds will be so much bigger.